Recommended Munchies from the Summer Fancy Food Show

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The Specialty Food Association’s Summer Fancy Food show is the largest specialty food industry event in North America and the top place to experience the taste of future food. I not only had the exclusive privilege to try various foods at the show but to also sample foods in the comfort of my home.

The Sharing the Details team parsed through various snacks and treats and have finalized a list of our recommended munchies from the 2018 Summer Fancy Food Show. Now, without further adieu…

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Recommended Snacks 

Tortuga Rumcake. This is a classic rumcake that can be served with icecream, with chocolate syrup or on its own. What I really like most about this rumcake is that you can get a taste of the carribean wherever you are with just one bite.

Amanda’s Tradicional Yerba Mate: The tea comes grounded and you can use a coffee maker to brew yerba mate for breakfast. What I love about this Argentinian brand is that this tea is traditional and made straight to the source.

Little Bird Kitchen’s a Hand full of hot & sweet nuts: This is a New York brand and these candied peanuts with a touch of jalepeno pepper heat serves a swift but delicate kick to the mouth. This is a great snack that can be paired with an IPA.

Dole Snack Bites Cashew Nut Clusters: Dole is a trusted brand and their cashew nut clusters does not disappoint. It’s made with cashews, sesame seeds and sea salt.

Pinky Up Tiramisu Dessert Black Tea: This black tea may not exactly be the same as snacking on a tiramisu but it’s pretty close. Pinky Up tea is a guilt free tea that has a great flavor and no calories. After I drank this tea at home, I felt like a princess for a second because of the taste and the fact you legit feel like sticking out your pink once you savor this chocolate concoction layered with coffee and cinnamon.

MilkBoy Switzerland Chocolate:  I have sampled over 30 brands of chocolate at this show and I can clearly see why MilkBoy took the prize for best chocolate at this year’s SOFI awards. Wow! I am not much of a dark chocolate fan but the 85% extra dark cocoa bar was smooth, velvety, with a seductively rich taste. I also sampled the Alpine Milk with Crunchy Caramel and Sea salt and this sweet, gooey, salty medley interplayed a creamy, refined, taste.

Chameleon Cold Brew Vanilla Coffee: After attending this show, I can see why cold brew coffee is a popular trend. I do really like Chameleon’s style of cold brew due to the smooth after taste.

Christine’s Organic Dulce De Leche Milk Caramel Sauce:  Authentic dulce de leche sauce is hard to find, especially organic. Christine’s sauce not only has an authentic, milky, taste but it’s easy to spread on breads, fruits, and ice cream.

Nature’s Guru Masala Chai: As I declared in a previous blog post about the food show, this was by far the best chai I had at the entire show. The taste was smooth, the spices didn’t overpower, and the beverage was milky–much like a true South Asian masala chai. Often other stores and cafes sell chai drinks that are too spicy, not as milky, and are more watery in texture. This chai tastes close to home for me.

Vegan Rob’s Jackfruit Puffs: As a self-professed carnivore, I normally dont venture into the vegan or vegetarian world. However, these Jackfruit puffs made that venture not as as painful. This organic, plant-based, treat is crunchy and I didn’t have much guilt afterwards eating the entire bag.

Ozery Bakery’s Lavash Crackers: I’ve never had true lavash bread before but I know this style of bread can be sold at your local Trader Joes. The lavash crackers from Ozery Bakery was fun to try and  I enjoyed sampling them with cheese and olives.

Twining’s Winter Spice Herbal Tea: This is a brand new tea from Twining’s and I must say I felt relaxed imbibing in this caffeine free concoction with a subtle blend of apple, cinnamon, cardamom and clove spices.

Road Kill Grill Meat Rub: And.. no, I did not kill any critters when I used this spice. Instead I bought chicken from a store, coated this blend all over, and baked for 30 minutes on 350 degrees. This was a delicious blend and if you do accidentally run over a creature, consider using this spice.

Snow Flakes Candy Mints: This sugar free, all natural, fat free mint has a pretty, magical, snowflake exterior and a tart but sweet taste. The black cherry mint was good. This mint is GMO free, has no wheat, soy, dairy, corn, gluten or sugar. So for that one friend you have is either allergic to a lot, this is a great recommendation for him or her.

Meiji Chocorooms: This is what I like to call a classic snack you can get at your local H-mart or Lotte. These Japanese cookies go great with milk.

Paromi Turmeric Ginger Green Tea: This is a really nice tea that comes in a biodegradable pyramid sachet. This tea has a strong, aromatic ginger and turmeric taste with a crisp, clean green tea flavor. If you want to drink something earthy with healing properties, this is the tea for you.

Cabernayzn dried cabernet wine grapes: This snack has more antioxidants than wine, has no alcohol, no preservatives, no artificial flavors and tastes like a super, fancy, raisin. If you want to taste Napa valley but to err on the side of not getting tipsy, this is the treat for you.

Belgian Boys Mini Cookie Stash: These cookies are sweet and fun to play with. Mini cookie stash are made with cookie butter and are made in Belgium.

Loacker Tortina White Cookies: Whenever I think of gourmet wafer cookies, the only cookie that comes to mind would be Loacker. I am a big fan of their new wafer cookie, the tortina white which has a sweet, caramel sauce inside.

Luke’s Organic White Truffle & Sea Salt Potato Chips: I am all about anything flavored with white truffle, especially potato chips.  These chips are made with Urbani Italian White Truffles with French Grey Guereande salt. Not only are these chips tasty, but what I like to call a snack for one who adults so hard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYFW: Gerda Truubon’s London Collection 2018

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February 16, 2018 I was invited by Exalt Fashion to cover Gerda Truubon’s London Collection at the Plaza hotel on fifth avenue for New York Fashion Week this year. Gerda is a well known Estonian born London-based fashion designer who crafts sexy but stylish frocks for the confident woman. Her mantra is to create dresses for the bold, secure, self-loving woman that aim to uplift rather than cover up who the woman really is.

Truubon was inspired by her mom, who was a tailor, to customize dresses for herself. In fact, her designs have been coveted by American TV star Natalie Nunn, British TV star Gemma Collins, and countless stars across the globe.

Speaking of dresses and fashion, so I wore the same ensemble from the previous show that day to the next show due to limitations on time.  I took a taxi from Sunset Terrace at Chelsea Piers to the hotel, and that cab ride averaged around $10.00. I was fortunate both locations were in close proximity of each other. Since I arrived a bit early, we had a little too much fun checking out the high-end stores and taking photos around the lobby.

This is a famous hotel after all. The Plaza hotel is a 20-story luxury hotel and condominium apartment located in Manhattan. Not only is the hotel recognized as a historic landmark but The Beatles stayed at The Plaza Hotel during their first visit to the United States in 1964.

After I had fun checking out the stores, I took the glamorous escalator downstairs to the show. We even had a bellhop assist us to and fro. The interior of the show was wide-spread with shimmery chandeliers, ornate wall decor, pristine floors, and manicured chairs at the front for VIP.  Editors, stylists, and bloggers such as myself took over the VIP section and, yes, we all went a little cray-cray with the selfies.

The show started with a talented singer bursting in with backup dancers. Each performer adorned white, lace, body suits; strap stilettos; and had their hair swaying.

Fifteen models from the show wore a similar ensemble, yet, had tightly wounded buns and ponytails that focused more attention on their stylish eye make up and stoic expressions. The singer, herself, swayed her hips and moved in sync to her own songs. For a second, I almost felt like I was at a concert and I applaud Truubon for adding a surprise introduction. The norm for present and future fashion shows is to start off with a spectacular concert, dance, or even stand-up–as a way to break away from the usual, standard, NYFW runway show.

Once the dancing has stopped and the models paraded away in a clean queue, the meaty matter of the show (the fashion) finally commenced. Truubon is well known from her previous collections for using bold colors, exaggerated sleeves, high shoulder dresses, and ensembles with plunging necklines.

Her trademark styles were underscored in her new line but so were lace, silk, and mesh materials, silver studded trims, and the symmetrical neckline with a one-shoulder long sleeve. Much of this show distilled top runway trends such as exploring a range of pastels, ruffles on the ends of skirts and the beginning of sleeve cuffs, flowy-cuffs unconnected to the dress, and iconic use of exposed shoulder lines as a way to juxtapose the contour of the dress to one’s skin.  This show had the right dosage of flash too.

This dress collection used an ample amount of slits above the  leg to infuse more of a night-time clubbing vibe. Silver studded trims underscored most of her apparel as well as boxed shoulder pads three-inch-high, and ruffled tiers enveloped along the lower neckline and all around the middle of the back. I can safely say her entire collection was devoted to what’s silvery, studded, and long and that’s a unique addition for this year’s show. Overall, this was an iconic show.

At the conclusion of the set, Gerda walked in and I had a hard time discerning her from the rest of the models. She looks just like a model.

Models, press, and VIP attendees were escorted to the lobby. The press had an exciting time snapping photos, grabbing last minute interviews with the designer, and taking selfies with the models. I was fortunate enough to get a selfie with the designer as well but I rue the day I wasn’t able to snag her for a short interview. Darn!

The plaza has a famous eatery downstairs full of international fare such as pasta, ramen, crepes, and beyond. I scarfed down a large bowl of bolognese pasta and my photographer had the most delicious crepe ever. We later caffeinated ourselves, lightly, on tea from Argo Tea a few blocks down and called it a night. Milkbar was nearby and I was half tempted to get some corn cookies and cereal icecream but my foodie self control mode kicked in.

In recent memory, New York Fashion week was most memorable  thanks to Truubin’s and other notable designers shows. I will forever want a dress with exposed shoulders, ruffled sleeve cuffs, and silver, studded trimmings hugging my neckline. I mean, that is the key ingredient for a fashionable It-girl!

New York Fashion Week 2018: Selly Djap, Christina J. Kim, AJ Saunders & Blakk April–4 Designers, A Kaleidoscope of Talent!

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February 16, 2018 I had this unique opportunity to not just cover one designer for New York Fashion week but four at one show. Christina J. Kim, Selly Djap, AJ Saunders and Blakk April rounded out the tail end of the”Street Fashion” segment of NYFW 2018. This show was held at the Sunset Terrace at Chelsea Piers from 4 p.m to 7 p.m.

The night before, I drove to New York City around 12 a.m and finally came to my hotel, the Eurostar located at the heart of Wall Street, around 5 a.m. I swear I haphazardly packed. I lost my right Italian leather shoe from my suitcase due to the crunch on time. When I woke up by 1 p.m, I dolled up my face, wore black from top to bottom (it’s the New York and D.C thing to do) and sported a sparkly, gold, jacket that was originally sold from a boutique in Los Angeles. Inclement weather (the drizzle and the freeze) didnt stop fashionistas from rocking their best threads.

From the hotel, I took an Uber ($10 price ride) to the location and met up with my photographer.  We were covering behind the scenes for this year’s shows. This was my first time seeing models getting their hair done, practicing their catwalk, and lounging with a Starbucks drink before a big show. I learned from behind the scenes, how much work went into getting ready and with how the networking game as changed. Instagram is the best way to connect with Fashion designers, models, stylists, and photographers.

Lighting is key. So much prep work went behind providing enough natural and unnatural light for incoming media. Sharing the Details was able to have a video interview with both designers Christina J. Kim and with Selly Djap. Stay tuned for future exclusives on them and on AJ Saunders and Blakk April.

On top of that, I have never watched a fashion show below an Ice rink before! This was a brand new experience.

This new experience may tie in to a sea change with the NYFW industry. According to Forbes, NYFW and the shows have been dealing with turbulence in attendee turn outs. Brands, big and small, are turning to live streaming a fashion show while others cancel shows on the fly and try to recreate unique parties and fashion experiences at hotels, pop-up locations, and anything else tied to what’s trendy.

The fashion industry, collectively, has to meet changes and demands from a newer generation and from newer transnactional relationships. Customers want to know who created their products. Social media has ensured a transparency in this case. Brands are starting to rethink ways to reach their consumer base and to surprise them. This fashion paradigm has greatly affected the way a NYFW show is produced and executed.

For newer designers, this welcoming change means room for creativity. Instead of most shows following a format of attendees sitting idly in a row where models do a simple catwalk down the aisle at an exclusive venue. More shows, like the one I attended, are held in unique locations like an Ice Rink and have impromptu events–for example, a live engagement parlay between two VIP attendees which actually happened in between Selly and Christina’s show–to revive the shows with a new, verve.

After the video interview, I took a seat at the front.  VIP and general admission started to pour in and trickled down to sit, network, and take selfies. The bar from behind served guests wine, beer, and delicious cocktail drinks.

Fashion Designer Selly Djap’s Winter 2018 “Trauma” line showcased an eclectic arrangement of black dresses that portray sexual re-awakening after going through abuse. This fashion line was inspired by her personal history.  Asymmetrical necklines, sequence trimmings,  sheer/ transparent sleeves, made a bold statement with several dresses worn. Business casual ensembles with tight pants, bare shoulder tops, spark the imagination with the crowd.  Selly’s previous fashion line, “Sex” explored a variation of pinks, silks, floral beaded patterns that are also reminiscent to her conservative upbringing in Indonesia.

After Selly’s models sashayed out. A brief intermission was set. I had this wonderful opportunity to meet talented photographers who worked directly with Christina and with Selly. Their passion, eye for creativity, and kindness exuded with each photo they took.

Christina J. Kim’s Winter 2018 line, “Alter Ego” took the audience by surprise. Her contemporary, underground, street fashion line is full of mixed fabrics, bold colors, and mixed mediums. Her garments can work well for both genders. Christina’s past collections focused on details and minimalism and her color palate was primarily an array of neutrals. With her newer line, models paraded floral prints, over sized sweaters with over-stuffed cowl necks, asymmetrical neckline shirts and a splash of gingham.

Blakk April Collection titled “I Got Issues” was inspired by allowing people to reach their dreams.  Roosevelt (birth name) used sheer, soft, fabrics that hug and enhance a woman’s natural curves with some of the dresses he designed. Blakk April experiments with capes, multi-high-level slits in the front of dresses, pastels, and shimmering greens that could only bring out a lively gown. His eye for women’s fashion  for this line brought out a wave of I-phones out from the VIP attendees. His previous collection, April Wardrobe Raw Edges, experimented with plaids, stripes, and solid toned pieces. His previous collection gave off a casual, going to rock my local indie show vibe whereas his recent line exuded a glittery, awe-struck club going vibe.

Last by not least is AJ Saunders “Maladjusted” Collection took in the known, unknown, and wove in a creative spin with gender neutral clothing. AJ started a gofundme page last year to be able  to do a NYFW show this year, and this line paid off in spades. Her mantra for each piece which is “manipulation of the self to make the inaccessible accessible” was exuded due to her eclectic use of material, anatomical structures, and with breaking new ground with gender identification for tops, bottoms, and all kinds of ensembles. Her further experimentation with 3-D printing, chest binders, and human anatomy-inspired shapes evinced a reaction from the audience and even blew up a couple Instagram accounts. AJ definitely thought outside the box with this line.

Each designer’s vision brought down the house, so to speak. Attendees clamored up to each designer up the show for photo opps, Instagram handle shares, and to pick apart these innovative thinker’s brains. This was more than just a memorable show, these showcases stretched my own imagination quite a bit.

Stay tuned to Sharing the Details for exclusive interviews with Designers Christina J. Kim, Selly Djap, AJ Saunders and Blakk April. 

It’s 5 o’Clock! Escaping to Margaritaville from Broadway!

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On February 16, 2018, Contributing Writer Joey Love attended the first Preview Showing of  Broadway’s ‘Escape to Margaritaville’ at the Marquis Theater in New York City– A new musical featuring both classic and original songs of the legendary Jimmy Buffett.

Along with my brother Jeff and best friend Eric, the three of us have been anticipating this monumental trip to The Big Apple to see Jimmy Buffett’s long-awaited musical on The Great White Way. We didn’t even think twice about driving 3 hours plus up north to attend the first-ever Broadway performance.

After years of waiting, we were finally able to Escape to Margaritaville, where the Changes in Latitudes bring together a vacationing tourist and the Son of a Son of a Sailor for a good ol’ fashioned Cheeseburger in Paradise before realizing the time is Five o’Clock somewhere and decide to go Get Drunk and Screw. [Writer’s Note: Not a 100% accurate synopsis]

The 22-song set list incorporates the lyrics of fan favorite songs into the progression of the feel-good story, and does so rather seamlessly. While some of the words were altered for comical effect or storyline purposes, the songs remain true to Buffett’s sound and melodies. The show is a supercharged, fast-paced, hilarious and an all-around fun time at the theater.

The Marquis Theatre is a gigantic, 1600-seat theatre attached to the Marriott Hotel in Times Square. Scenic Designer Walt Spangler did a nice job setting the mood for the show by decorating the lobby and interior of the theatre with just the right touch of beach-themed design. You could feel the energy and excitement in the lobby from each and every ‘Parrot Head’. Being the first official performance in New York City, nobody knew what to expect or had any reviews to use as a benchmark.

Upon curtain call, I was pleasantly surprised with the pacing and production as a whole. Escape to Margaritaville was a diverting good time at the theatre that allowed you to leave your brain at the door. Do not go in expecting any deep or dark storylines. After all, this is Jimmy Buffett we’re talking about.

Much of my praise goes to the writers: Mike O’ Malley, writer of HBO’s ‘Shameless’ and actor in CBS’s ‘Yes, Dear’, and Greg Garcia, writer of ‘Yes, Dear’ and NBC’s ‘My Name is Earl’. These two funnymen pull out all the stops in the comedy department. When I wasn’t busy humming or singing with the rest of the audience (yes, they initiate sing-a-longs!), I was busy laughing my fins off! Almost every line of dialogue was intended to induce a chuckle.

The well-selected cast are some of Broadway’s finest performers. Highlights include Charlie Pollock, who plays sidekick Brick to male lead Paul Alexander Nolan, and Lisa Howard, who plays best friend Tammy to female lead Allison Luff. The most entertaining scenes involve the characters played by these two. Both performers get their moment to shine (i.e. their own song-and-dance number).

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Escape to Margaritaville cast taking their first bows.

When the performers took their bows, it was very hard to leave the theater. It felt like summertime (in frigid February) and all I wanted to do was have a beer (or two) with the cast. Of course, much of the crowd remained in their seats in hopes that Buffett himself would make a surprise appearance to round out this first showing, as he did for tryout performances in California and Louisiana. Unfortunately, one of the writers politely informed me at intermission that Buffett was not in attendance. Buffett’s Instagram post that morning proved to be an accurate indication of his whereabouts— in actual warmer climates.

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Joey Love’s signed Playbill

I was still lucky enough to run into a few key individuals throughout the night who were involved in the production of Margaritaville. When the auditorium doors first opened, I immediately spotted Michael Utley, the keyboardist and director of Buffett’s band, the Coral Reefers Band, standing near his seat. He was very open to conversation before posing for a picture and autographing my Playbill. Mingling in the lobby during intermission was Frank Marshall, producer of Margaritaville and countless Hollywood films. He shared details on a last-minute dress rehearsal change that could make-or-break a particular scene in Act 2. Most exciting of all was running into the show’s writers, O’Malley and Garcia. As kind as could be, they asked the three of us (Jeff, Eric, and me) our opinion of the show and talked about their journey to Broadway.

 

 

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Could someone who is not a die-hard fan of Buffett’s records still enjoy the show? Absolutely! There were a few songs I was unfamiliar with but it did not keep me from enjoying this crowd-pleasing show. The band even reworked some of the orchestrations to sound more Broadway-esque, giving some of Buffett’s slower tunes a more joyous tone and faster pace. Jeff and Eric both walked away with big smiles on their faces. Eric, however, a dedicated Jimmy Buffet fan, had some reservations about the storyline, which can be expected from someone who wanted to write this story himself.

With the official opening night for Escape to Margaritaville around the corner, I genuinely hope the show is able to attract the masses and sustain healthy box office returns, as Frozen, Mean Girls, Carousel, and Summer: A Donna Summers Musical near their opening nights in the coming months.

Remember: Margaritaville is more than a musical… It’s a way of life! Go see it! Fins up!

Broadway’s official opening day for Escape to Margaritaville’ at the Marquis Theater is on March 15, 2018. The estimated runtime of the show is 2 hours and 25 minutes with one 15-minute intermission. Single and Group tickets of 12 or more are available to purchase